doing something different.

So a couple of weeks ago I wrote an entry here on my weblog.  It was a bit of a kvetch about juried competitions, and high-priced entry fees to places like Photolucida and (to a lesser extent) LensCulture. 

The entry was prompted by an email I got from LensCulture, telling me that one of my images scored in the top 10% of all images submitted to LensCulture last year.  The point of telling me this was to also inform me that artists with images in the top 10% generally did very well in LensCulture's Exposure Awards.  Well, every application costs $50...so yeah, thanks a bunch, but NO THANKS.

I don't want to lay out details, because I get all riled up, but the point I was making is that I want to spend my money on supplies and my time on creating.  Instead of spending my money on entry fees and shipping and my time seeking, seeking, then framing and packing and running out to the post office, etc...  One challenge is that I have thought of my work in terms of showing for so long that showing is sometimes the motivation to create.  and I don't like it.  I want to go back to creating for the sake of it. 

Here are some ideas for reverting back to creation for the simple joy of it:

  • I am not applying to any more juried exhibitions.  Not for at least a year, maybe longer (we'll see how it feels after a year) 
  • I am never (never for the rest of my fucking life) making work for a gallery again.  They either like what I have, or they don't. 
  • I am letting go of every single practice that I do for the purpose of "building a body of work."  that is a market-driven practice and it needs to go.
  • The normal "artist's statement" can kiss my sweet ass goodbye.  (really, like I don't write enough?  LOL)

Anyhow, the next day I was checking my FB account and found an entry by another photographer.  Here is his entry (highlights are things I've said here on my own weblog):

He's kinder about the FB process of "mutual shoulder patting."   and maybe you noticed that at the end of his entry he mentions pen pals.  So I decided "why not?"  I don't know that it will ultimately work for me, or that he will find my mail very interesting...Here is my first penpal note to him:

Here's what it says:  So when I was a little girl (7 years old) my family moved to München.  And for one excruciating year, my sister and I suffered the indignity of attending school on an army base.  One of my teachers there had connected with a school in the states and we were to form pen pal relationships with kids across the pond.  I tried this.  I mean, I gave it a valiant shot.  We'd been instructed to tell our stories.  But at 7 there weren't a whole bunch of stories to tell, and snap-shots of houses and parents and pets...I just didn't care.  Many years later I met Eliot who became my AA sponsor.  We met every Monday for 4 years at the Village Inn in Buffalo, NY, and I'm trying to remember when we started telling stories.  (i.e., back-stories - our herstories)  We sorta didn't.  We focused on shared observations and we talked about the Now and about what we believed in, and about being sober drunks.  And I got to know who she was by how she was.  Eventually, stories about her unfolded.  It was natural. I flew from Portland to Buffalo when Eliot was in hospice, and I stayed in her apartment, surrounded by all her things.  And I decided to take some.  Not to take anything of financial value, but items that would keep her close to me.  I took photos, I took a well-worn leather coin purse full of pennies, I took a couple of her AA books - ones she'd scribbled all over.  There were stories connected to each thing I took, and how much I cared about her stories. Everybody is "other" until they're not.  I don't know where that point is, where a person goes from something alien to being a part of me...maybe it's a slow thing. I wonder about this pen pal thing.  I'm 60.  I wonder if you will reply.  I wonder if I will care or if it'll be kinda like when I was 7.  I dunno.  But I'm game to find out.  K, that's it. Bye.

Here's what it says:  So when I was a little girl (7 years old) my family moved to München.  And for one excruciating year, my sister and I suffered the indignity of attending school on an army base.  One of my teachers there had connected with a school in the states and we were to form pen pal relationships with kids across the pond.  I tried this.  I mean, I gave it a valiant shot.  We'd been instructed to tell our stories.  But at 7 there weren't a whole bunch of stories to tell, and snap-shots of houses and parents and pets...I just didn't care. 

Many years later I met Eliot who became my AA sponsor.  We met every Monday for 4 years at the Village Inn in Buffalo, NY, and I'm trying to remember when we started telling stories.  (i.e., back-stories - our herstories)  We sorta didn't.  We focused on shared observations and we talked about the Now and about what we believed in, and about being sober drunks.  And I got to know who she was by how she was.  Eventually, stories about her unfolded.  It was natural.

I flew from Portland to Buffalo when Eliot was in hospice, and I stayed in her apartment, surrounded by all her things.  And I decided to take some.  Not to take anything of financial value, but items that would keep her close to me.  I took photos, I took a well-worn leather coin purse full of pennies, I took a couple of her AA books - ones she'd scribbled all over.  There were stories connected to each thing I took, and how much I cared about her stories.

Everybody is "other" until they're not.  I don't know where that point is, where a person goes from something alien to being a part of me...maybe it's a slow thing.

I wonder about this pen pal thing.  I'm 60.  I wonder if you will reply.  I wonder if I will care or if it'll be kinda like when I was 7.  I dunno.  But I'm game to find out.  K, that's it.

Bye.

Not sure this will be up his alley if he wants to talk about travel...only place I travel to are places in my mind, after all.  Maybe I should have started with a conversation about art, but this is what was on my mind.  So I wrote it.  and just look at the sassy stationery. 

Here's the envelope: